This offseason the big rule changes were focused on the kickoffs, what’s a catch (fingers crossed) and the lowering of the helmet as a weapon. Rule changes are mostly voted on for player safety, to make the game more entertaining or to be more consistent as to what is considered fair. Every year that new rules are implemented (so every year) I’m curious as to why a larger roster is never mentioned. With the Ravens injury history in recent years, a 53-man roster doesn’t seem like enough.
I realize there are hurdles – especially salary cap issues – that would come along with a larger player roster. I’m not suggesting a jump up to 75 players or anywhere close to that. I think teams (especially our Ravens!) could benefit greatly from an expansion of as few as two players.
When it comes down to those last few roster spots, they are very hard decisions to make. Players are lost to other teams that may be developmental players but become essential down the road. Sometimes they have a surprise early impact and break out their rookie year. When a team has invested so much coaching into a player, they should have more opportunity to keep that player. Teams should be rewarded for drafting and coaching well – not penalized.
Beyond just being able to keep more “bubble” guys around, a few more active players on game day could also be very beneficial. Fans often wonder “why everyone isn’t active?” but I’m still in favor of that particular rule. Football is a brutal sport and throughout the season most teams have several banged up players who shouldn’t be playing on any given Sunday.
The conundrum is, how is it predetermined that each team has seven players that need rest every game? Obviously they don’t, but it evens the playing field, forcing all teams to keep seven players inactive.
So what about the players that are active that get hurt during the game? Or if more than one player gets hurt? They are now forced out of the game and teams might already have healthy players inactive and therefore unable to play. The solution in my mind is to have more active players on game day.
The logistics can be sorted out, but my suggestion is this: a 55-man roster with 50 active players on game day.
In 2014, the practice squad went from eight players to 10. If you go back to eight and keep two more on the active roster, teams will still carry the same amount of players, without too much impact on the salary cap. Practice squad salaries are not the same as active roster players, but it won’t be a huge difference relative to the benefits.
This proposal is, I think, a sensible way to address some of the problems I’ve discussed above. And I won’t hide it: as a Ravens fan – my team drafts well but seems quite injury prone! – I have a particular interest in this rule change.
Tell me why this won’t work (or will) in the comments.